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Planning application submitted for our exciting new community solar farm at Chelson Meadow

Alex R
21st Feb 2022
Landscape Masterplan

Joint press release from PEC and Plymouth City Council - 21st February 2022

A brand new, community-owned solar farm for Plymouth has reached another step towards reality.

Having launched plans in the summer and undertaken extensive community consultation, the Council and local charity Plymouth Energy Community (PEC), have submitted a joint planning application, to develop a new approximately 13MW community-owned solar farm, on the old landfill site at Chelson Meadow.

Generating enough energy to power 3,800 homes a year, this unique opportunity would increase the renewable energy capacity in the city significantly; improving national and local access to clean energy.

This kind of initiative takes Plymouth closer to its commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2030; playing its part in tackling climate change and defining a better path for a viable future. Being community-owned means that any profits are kept locally.

As part of the process, PEC has shared information with the local community and stakeholders for feedback and this has helped shape the submitted design.

This includes detailed plans to achieve measurable improvements for wildlife as well as the significant carbon savings from the project.

Alistair Macpherson, Chief Executive of Plymouth Energy Community, said: “We are proud to deliver a proposal with Plymouth City Council that will deliver arguably the most significant renewable energy generation opportunity available in our city.”

Councillor Maddi Bridgeman, Cabinet member for Environment and Street Scene, said: “It is great to see this project get to planning. The team have worked hard to develop a sympathetic approach based on extensive evidence. Should planning be approved, we have an opportunity here to show best practice in partnership working to deliver on multiple agendas that are important to Plymouth and its residents’

The project is being delivered with support from the Rural Community Energy Fund, which is administered by the SW Energy Hub.

Jon Rattenbury, Programme Manager for the South West Energy Hub, said “I am pleased we are able to support PEC’s Chelson Meadow solar project through the Rural Community Energy Fund Programme. It is a great example of what community energy groups can achieve both in terms of decarbonisation as well as benefitting host communities through the reinvestment of revenues into local projects. We strongly encourage other community groups to keep an eye out for future government funding opportunities to help get their local energy projects off the ground”.

PEC will be running another information event on Tuesday 1st March for those who want to find out more and ask questions. You can read about the project here: www.plymouthenergycommunity.com/our-work/chelson-meadow.

Plymouth Energy Community have already installed a community-owned solar array at Ernesettle, saved over £800k for local schools and community organisations through rooftop solar and re-invested surplus profits into projects that help Plymouth residents reduce their energy bills and make homes more energy efficient.


Contact Chris Parsons @ PCC communications@plymouth.gov.uk

Contact Jemma Knowles @ Plymouth Energy Community jemma@plymouthenergycommunity.com

About Plymouth Energy Community

Plymouth Energy Community (PEC) is a multi-award winning charity and a social enterprise, with a cooperative ethos. PEC’s mission is to enable our community to create a fair, affordable, zero carbon energy system with local people at its heart. It includes a family of community led organisations with projects that: bring local people together to tackle fuel poverty and the climate crisis, increase local ownership and influence over local energy solutions; improve community confidence to engage in the zero carbon transition; and enable people to heat and power their homes affordably.

Since 2013 PEC has:

  • Developed and generated 33 MWh of clean power from Ernesettle community solar farm and 32 roof top arrays.
  • Saved schools and community organisations over £800,000 from their energy bills through renewable power and energy efficiency improvements.
  • Helped 30,589 households and carried out 5,298 homes visits, saving each an average of £764 per year
  • Saved a total of 25,254 tonnes of carbon.
  • Grown to a turnover of £1.5m per year with a dedicated team of 24 employed staff.

PEC is now working with local businesses to install new solar arrays; trailing models for community owned renewable heat, and providing a domestic energy advice and retrofit service targeted at helping the fuel poor and those with long-term health conditions. It is dispersing grants to fuel poor households as part of the City’s Covid response package and has established a community led housing developer, to focus on the innovation required to deliver affordable homes in a way that is consistent with the UK’s carbon reduction targets.

PEC Trust (t/a Plymouth Energy Community) is a charitable company limited by guarantee. PEC Renewables is a Community Benefit Society, set up in 2014 by Plymouth Energy Community to fund, install and manage community-owned renewable energy installations.